Friday, July 9, 2010

Radiculous! Radicchio!

Continuing our international tour of bitter greens, we mistook this week's radicchio for lettuce and chopped some up for our nachos.

BLEARGH! That stuff is bitter.

(Farm Share Stories: Eating inedible objects so you don't have to.)

Here's what we would have known if we'd read the newsletter (PDF) more carefully:
Radicchio is the other green in the boxes this week. It looks like a red and green lettuce, and can be used like lettuce. But it’s actually radicchio. Common in Italian and Belgian cooking, this Chicory leaf is slightly bitter and spicy, especially when raw, but mellows when cooked.
Searching for recipes, I came upon, the slick promotional organ of a California radicchio grower. Check out the recipes, the blog, or, my favorite, the suggested "flavor pairings" (including vinegar, salami, maple syrup, olives, blue cheese, and avocado).

Here's a little more radicchio history and lore. I notice that our head is quite a bit darker and greener than most of the radicchio pictured online -- any idea of what variety we're working with? (Perhaps Rosso di Chioggia?)

Jack went hunting on the Internet for ways to disembitter greens, and found a lot of suggestions in the comments on this recipe. (Possible options: soak greens in salt water, boil in several changes of water, add baking soda to the cooking water, add lots of salt and fat.) We'll let you know what we try.

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